Winter Wonderland Train Show
Download a pdf file: Winter Wonderland Train Show 2013
Manassas Candy Factory 2013
The Manassas Candy Factory, aka the Center for the Arts at the Hopkins Candy Factory, proved a spectacular venue for our train show. As usual the show featured both O Gauge and Standard Gauge layouts. Being alongside the Norfolk Southern main line only added to the uniqueness of the show. The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) contributed to the attendance by scheduling Four Santa Express trains departing and returning from the Manassas station on Saturday the 14th. All trains were sold out and we took advantage by advertising our train show at the station using sandwich boards, which proved very effective. Saturday’s attendance was just under 900 people. The City along with the Candy Factory and local papers advertised the show several weeks in advance of the actual event. The weather played a factor this year causing some delays and cancellations during the set up process but the show opened on time as scheduled. The total attendance was 1870 folks as counted by the building guards.
This year’s layout was designed not only as a fun layout for the Candy Factory but as a Beta site for the layout being considered for the York show next April. The Up and Over concept was incorporated into the original design and proved very effective. The Up and Over idea requires the Over modules to be raised enough to allow adequate clearance for the under modules. The target was 7 1/2 inches from the top of the lower track to the bottom of the Over Module.
HEIGHT:The height was achieved by using Lifters (Frank Hale). The lifters are comprised of PVC (2”) pipe cut into 17” lengths. The module legs are placed inside the PVC pipe and once the module is raised to the desired height a C clamp is attached to the leg at the top of the PVC holding the module at the selected height.
- All raised modules were double clamped to the adjacent module for support
- Using 2 PVC pipes per module worked well but required at least three folks when attaching and measuring the height of the module. The advantage is less PVC pipe and clamps.
- Using 4 PVC pipes per module made it easier to adjust and attach but requires double the PVC pipe and clamps.
- Our goal was a grade of 1” per 4 feet ( 2%) The Under modules were lowered to 39” to help with the clearance of the Over module. This was achieved by adjusting the legs.
- The Over module was actually a special Girder bridge built for the show. Instead of underneath support on the module it was on top for maximum clearance.
- The actual clearance was just under 7 “ which proved adequate. The
final height was a direct product of the limitations of the room and the total layout.
The layout was our typical two track configuration with a twist so to speak. Each loop (Inner and Outer) was completely separate but because of the Up and Over configuration one side of the layout was a mirror image of the other, this required a harness change in two distinct places. We used a male to male jumper harness with the red and white wires reversed and a female to female jumper harness with the red and white wires reversed. The male to male was inserted at the end of the Over module where the next modules were reversed and at the end of the Under module again as the modules were reversed. Fiber Pins were not required. These were the only wiring changes needed. Each loop was approximately 180 feet in length. The Power House was connected as usual.
The show is located on the third floor of the Candy Factory so it requires all modules and club assets to be moved via the buildings elevator which is quite adequate but time consuming. Once everything was on the third floor it required about 5-6 hours for assembly minus the inside skirting and some scenery. As mentioned earlier it takes multiple people to assemble the modules with lifters. Multiple measuring devices are needed and at least a two foot level is also required. It is important to assure the tracks are level both across and along the length of the modules.
Note: the Old VA Gezzer Gate (Bruce’s) does not lend itself to lifters due to it’s design.
New Virginia Corners:
Two new corners were also used and tested at the show. Both corners were used next to each other spanning 12 feet. The corners went in flawlessly and also worked well with lifters attached as they were part of the grade. The track work is excellent and any engine overhang problems were non-existent. One end of the corners were adjacent to Justin’s crossover module and the other was a standard module. The other end of the rectangle was composed of standard corners and a module totaling 12 feet also. Some extra cleaning of the track was needed (Weathered Track) as expected. Normal running cured any issue.
As in any layout with separate areas, Gezzer Gates are needed, especially when all trains are assembled at the yard. A lot of trains were physically carried from one side to the other.
Since one side of the layout was a mirror image all tracks were reversed. What was outer loop on the yard side was the inner loop on the mirror side. The same held true for the inner Loop. We used the yard primarily to avoid any confusion when placing trains on the track. With one yard servicing both loops run time should be separated by at least 15 minutes to avoid congestion.
Since both sides of the layout incorporated a 2% grade we paid special attention to all trains looking for any difficulties but I am happy to say every train, including a 40 car consist, worked without incident.
Normal skirting is sufficient on the majority of modules. Where modules are raised 8 inches or so the PVC lifters show which isn’t too bad but all the boxes stored under the modules are also viewable. Where this this impacts the overall image of our layout ( For example at entrances) we stapled a skirt to the legs so it just touched the floor and then applied the normal skirt over it.
Our members outdone themselves this year, Winter Wonderland scenes were evident on every module. The clubs Dept 56 collection was artfully displayed and attracted a lot of attention. I noticed a lot of pictures being taken. With our display on the 3rd floor of the Candy Factory the majority of spectators use the elevator. Both elevator and stairwell open directly into the room so when either doors opened everyone had the same reaction. A loud WOW! The whole effect of our layout was being surrounded by trains and it was noticed. The first comments I heard were from the Manassas City folks and they especially liked the Up and Over idea. This comment was echoed may times over to several Trackers from our visitors. We also placed Santa’s chair directly in front of the Up and Over so as Santa (Bear Bailey) sat in the chair with kids on his knee trains were crisscrossing behind him creating a very special effect, Outstanding. Once again a great photo op that wasn’t missed by our visitors.
A large rectangle (10×28) tabletop layout was put together by Clem and Dan with the scenery decorated by the Candy factory volunteers following the Winter Wonderland theme. Three loops were constantly in motion requiring special attention at all times. Clems’ collection of trains is amazing and unique. Besides the Standard gauge Clem also featured a Gauge 1 loop running European trains. A half restored train caught everyone’s attention as it went around the loop. One complete side finished while the other side was in its original condition. Clem also kept a running blog of the days events through his eyes, It is worth reading!. A pleasant unexpected photo op seemed to come out of nowhere. While standing in front of the Up and Over bridge looking directly towards the back of the room the Standard gauge layout with its white skirting was in view. It fit perfectly.
Thanks to everyone who provided a great selection for each days repast. Roast Beef, Sauerkraut and Sausage, Meatball Subs, Chili and a exceptional Pastadish.Of course each day had a delicious selection of desserts including chocolate cake, apple pie, cookies and fruit. A very generous effort by all members that was truly appreciated by all.
To say this year’s show was a success is an understatement. We met all our goals as a Beta Site for York while providing an impressive display enjoyed by everyone who attended including all our members.
Many thanks to all participants
Candy factory Trackmaster